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Lawmakers spar over crimes to unborn children

Colorado's lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it illegal to kill or injure a woman's unborn child. Such an offense would probably often be connected to charges of violence against the child's mother, whose injury or death may lead to the child's.

House Democrats support the idea of such legislation but killed a bill by a Republican representative in January before introducing their own version. While the idea of the bill seems to have widespread support, semantics and party priorities seem to be causing disagreement.

The major difference between the two versions of the legislation was their justification for creating these offenses. The Republican draft specifically mentioned the "personhood" of the unborn child. The Republican bill deals with "proximate cause of death or injury to an unborn member of the species homo sapiens," which some took as an attempt to outlaw abortion and confer a sense of personhood on to the fetus.

The Democrats' version of the bill would still criminalize violence that results in the injury or death of an unborn baby without the "personhood" rhetoric. Similar legislation has been proposed in the past but met with serious opposition from right-wing lobbyists and campaign supporters.

If it passes, this legislation could make some criminal charges more serious by adding an additional count of violence. This could happen whether the perpetrator of the alleged violence knew about the existence of the fetus or not.

If you are facing criminal charges it is important to work with someone who can help protect your rights. Consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help safeguard your interests.

Source: The Denver Post, "Colorado lawmakers debate bills to deal with crimes to the 'unborn child,'" Lynn Bartels, Jan. 28, 2013

To learn more about criminal charges in Colorado, please visit our website.

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